MHRP began enrolling participants in Homa Bay, Kenya, for a new prospective observational study of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) called the Multinational Observational Cohort of HIV and Other Infections (MOCHI).
MOCHI will estimate HIV and STI incidence and track the evolution of participants’ risk and healthcare-seeking behaviors. The study also facilitates sites’ preparedness for future HIV and STI prevention studies by building capacity, evaluating site recruitment and retention and maintaining relationships with affected communities.
The study will engage community members who may participate in future studies, including those designed to test HIV prevention tools as well as interventions to achieve HIV remission. Every 12 weeks, participants respond to behavioral questionnaires and receive clinic-based HIV and STI testing. Participants are also provided HIV home testing kits for use between scheduled visits. Participants diagnosed with HIV may opt to begin antiretroviral therapy and will continue with follow-up visits to monitor early events in HIV pathogenesis and response to antiretroviral therapy. The study is employing novel biometric techniques, like iris scanning, for participant identification.
MOCHI is designed to provide one unified protocol and set of data collection instruments for deployment across multiple sites in diverse regions of world. Homa Bay, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Victoria, has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in Kenya. MOCHI is MHRP’s first study at the site. Once the MOCHI study model is established, MHRP plans to expand to additional countries and regions in the coming years, with a target of enrolling 500 participants in each country where the study is opened.